Couple found guilty, sentenced to prison for murder of 2-week-old daughter

NEWTON COUNTY, Ga. — A Newton County couple will be going to prison for the murder of their newborn daughter.

It took a jury only over an hour to find Christopher McNabb and Courtney Bell guilty on all counts for the murder of 2-week-old Caliyah.

Channel 2's Tom Regan was in the courtroom when the verdict was announced. The judge sentenced McNabb to life in prison without parole and Bell to 30 years with 15 years served.

McNabb and Bell both received 10 years to serve consecutively or after for concealing the newborn's death.


Before the sentencing, the convicted father squared off with the judge, who asked McNabb what the sentence should be.

"I'm innocent. I didn't do it, I've maintained that the whole time," McNabb said. "If you ever find out who did it, they deserve to be under the jail."

Bell also told the judge she was innocent and broke down into tears during her conversation with the judge.

"It's a sickness, but I tried to be a good mother. I love my babies," she said.

Channel 2 Action News has been following the case since the death of baby Caliyah in 2017.

During the trial, prosecutors said McNabb and Bell were using methamphetamine and in a violent relationship when they killed their 2-week-old daughter.

Prosecutors said that while she didn't kill the baby, Bell was negligent with using the drugs.

Days before the infant vanished, a cousin said she was watching the baby and the child of another couple, who went off without any explanation.

Megan Sorrells told prosecutors the couple were doing drugs at the time of the baby's disappearance.

The newborn's small body was found the next day in some nearby woods a short walk from the trailer. An autopsy showed she died of blunt force trauma to the head.

On Monday, jurors heard McNabb's jailhouse phone call to Bell. During the call, the father accused the mother of killing their daughter back in 2017.